The Top 8 Reasons to Visit Lee, Massachusetts
Article and photos by Eric Hurwitz. Page created on August 29, 2017.
Lee, Mass., seems more
down-to-earth than many of
the more popular travel destinations in the Berkshires of Western
Massachusetts while having one of the most accessible mountain town
seems to me that Lee doesn't necessarily think of itself as a travel
destination although the town has great travel appeal and welcomes
visitors in a most friendly way.
I think that is the
difference: Some Berkshire towns spend too much time telling us why
they are great while Lee is just happy to humbly be itself. That's not
to say, however, to skip the other towns as some of New England's
greatest travel attractions and destinations can be found in the
Berkshires. Lee should definitely be part of that mix, however, when
traveling the Berkshires!
With all that in mind, here are some great ways to enjoy visiting Lee...
It's right off the Mass Turnpike
Two or three minutes off Route 90 lands you right in the heart of the
downtown. That's the quickest drive to a major Berkshire town with
plenty of things to see and do.
2. The downtown has a classic Main Street USA
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, downtown Lee not
only offers some beautiful historic municipal buildings and homes but a
great mix of mom and pop shops, galleries, boutiques, restaurants,
cafes, and coffee houses. There's also a real community pride in
town with hanging flower baskets, plenty of events, and residents who
frequent the town
center more than most communities I have seen of this size.
3. Joe's Diner A classic diner
if there ever was one, Joe's Diner, at 85 Center St., is unassuming in
appearance with a
plain "Joe's Diner" sign and an old-time Pepsi sign above, American
flags in the window, a wooden bench and flowers near the entrance.
Joe's Diner serves very good diner food at lower-than-usual diner
prices. Whether breakfast, lunch, dinner or a slice of homemade pie,
chances are your selection will taste much better than what you'd find
at the highway service centers and the service is everything you'd
expect in a diner -- friendly, quick and full of small town
conversations with the locals. Most prominently, that famous Saturday
Evening Post drawing known as The Runaway -- a friendly policeman
talking with a small would-be runaway boy at a diner -- stands out from
everything else on the wall, given its legendary pop culture status.
Joe's Diner was reportedly an inspiration for that masterpiece
4. Lee Premium Outlets OK, so
it's not part of the historical, small town foundation of Lee, but
that's OK: The Lee Premium Outlets, at 17 Premium Outlets Blvd.,
features 60 stores, including Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein,
Coach, J. Crew Factory Store, Lindt Chocolate, Nautica, Michael Kors,
Sunglass Hut and Under Armour. It is also right off the Mass. Turnpike,
but on the other side of the highway from the downtown (same exit,
5. Lee Library The original
part of the Lee Library, at 100 Main St., dates back to 1907 and
remains the only "Carnegie library" in the Berkshires. Lee Marble Works
quarried and cut the marble used in the construction of the building,
according to the Lee Library web site. The Lee Library has an
impressive book selection for a small town and is a nice place to take
in the quiet, charming ambiance of a historic library.
6. Sandy Beach at Lake Laurel
Residents and guests of Lee go to this idyllic Berkshires beach located
at 415 Laurel. St. off Route 20, for boating (boat ramp on route 20),
fishing (in summer and winter), and swimming. The sandy beach offers
picnic facilities. Call 413-243-2464 for seasonal hours.
7. Morgan House Located in
downtown Lee, this historic inn and restaurant with a cozy tavern
feeling for lunch and dinner has been serving the public since 1853
(first as a stagecoach stop). It has a beautiful look on Main St. that
blends in perfectly with the charm of the center.
8. Farmers Market The Lee
Farmers Market takes place on the beautiful
town green in the downtown district and features some fabulous local
produce, herbs, baked goods, honey, maple syrup, plants and meats. The
scene is fabulous like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting,
which makes sense: the aforementioned Rockwell loved to paint in this
beautiful small town!
Find a hotel in Lee at the lowest rate
For more information on Lee, log onto the
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VisitingNewEngland.com Publisher Eric Hurwitz
Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions:
town commons (includes a chapter on West Brookfield!
Best Diners in New England -- If you love
classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on
50 top local diners.
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